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My Free Time: 2007 Popcorn Movie Preview

Category: 300 News
Article Date: January 5, 2007 | Publication: KIRO TV (Seattle) | Author: Tim Lammers
Source: http://www.kirotv.com/entertainment/10672528/detail.html

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Pirates And Spiders And Wizards -- Oh My!

We're smack dab in the middle of awards season, which usually means the serious stuff is dominating your local multiplex.

So, for a change of pace, here is a rundown of 10 lighter popcorn movies you can look forward to through the summer of 2007. Considering there's another pirate adventure, a trio of superhero movies, the return of a teen wizard and another visit from a lovable ogre, it looks to be another green and fun-filled year at the movie box office.

1. If its blockbuster 2006 box office tally is any indication, moviegoers will board the Black Pearl again in droves for the third in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" action-adventure series, "At World's End."

Despite being devoured by a sea creature at the end of "Dead Man's Chest," the film -- which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and $423 million in North America -- features Johnny Depp's return as Captain Jack Sparrow and castmateys Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and other familiar faces. --May 25

2. Avoiding any collision with "Pirates" or its Marvel comic book movie counterparts, "Ghost Rider" is the first superhero out of the gate in 2007. Nicolas Cage stars as Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who gives up his soul to become the vengeful Ghost Rider. "Daredevil" filmmaker Mark Steven Johnson is at the helm of the film, which also stars Eva Mendes, Sam Elliott and Wes Bentley. --Feb. 16

3. The premise for Jim Carrey's "The Number 23" sounds like an idea that's, well, "Stranger Than Fiction" --considering that Will Ferrell's character-will-die-in-a-book-unless-he-can-stop-it comedy was compared to Carrey's "The Truman Show." In "The Number 23," Carrey plays a man who is adamant that a book he's obsessing over is based on his own life -- and you got it: a tragedy awaits. Joel Schumacher directs the dramatic thriller, which also stars Virginia Madsen. --Feb. 23

4. A different sort of "comic book movie," "300" is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel about how the King of Sparta Leonidas (Gerard Butler) led his army against the advancing Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Zack Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead") directs the film, which also stars Lena Heady, David Wehham (Faramir from "The Lord of the Rings") and Dominic West ("Chicago"). --March 9

5. Following a stretch of live-action movies that began in the early 1990s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael -- are back again as in the computer-generated adventure "TMNT." The film picks up after the defeat of their old arch nemesis, The Shredder -- but instead of unity, Turtles have grown apart as a family. Things change, though, when their rat sensei, Master Splinter, senses that something has run awry in New York City. --March 23

6. Despite a lukewarm response from comic book diehards in 2005, "The Fantastic Four" -- Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd), the Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba), The Human Torch (Chris Evans) and "The Thing" (Michael Chiklis) -- are back for another big-screen adventure with "Rise of the Silver Surfer."

The film will employ a computer-generated version of the Four's foe, based on the movements and featuring the voice of Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from "Hellboy"). The film also promises an appearance by the planet-eating baddie Galactus, as well as another visit from the first film's nemesis, Dr. Doom (Julian McMahon). --June 15

7. Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) is back and facing three bad guys, appropriately, in "Spider-Man 3." This time he faces Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), Venom (Topher Grace) and Hobgoblin (James Franco), aka the vengeful son of the late Green Goblin. The film promises to be trip down a dark path for the Web Slinger, where he dons a black Spidey suit and all. Sam Raimi is directing his third consecutive "Spider-Man" film, which also stars Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard and Rosemary Harris as Peter's kindly Aunt May. --May 3

8. Our return to Far, Far Away, well, isn't that far away with "Shrek the Third," the long-anticipated sequel to the 2004 computer-animated blockbuster "Shrek 2." Mike Myers once again is the voice of Shrek, who finds himself in the unenviable position of being an heir to rule Far, Far Away land. Cameron Diaz is back as Mrs. Shrek -- Princess Fiona, as are Eddie Murphy (Donkey), Antonio Banderas (Puss-in-Boots), Queen Lillian (Julie Andrews) and John Cleese (King Harold). New to the royal mix are Cleese's fellow Python alum Eric Idle and Diaz's longtime boyfriend, Justin Timblerlake. --May 18

9. This may be a first: a film based not on a book, magazine article, television show or Broadway play -- but a set of action figures? That's right, Hasbro's mega successful creation, "Transformers," is finally getting the big-screen live-action treatment -- an animated television show and movie precedes it -- thanks to the likes of director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg. A sci-fi action-adventure starring Shia LeBeouf, Tyrese Gibson and Josh Duhamel, the film finds a pair of rival alien races -- the Autobots and the Decepticons -- taking their battle to earth. --July 4

10. Life for Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) keeps getting trickier in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the teen wizard continues with battle with Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), who began to take shape, quite literally, at the conclusion of "Goblet of Fire."

The film will continue the sad trend of beloved characters being killed off -- but most interesting is the question of whether or not Radcliffe, Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermoine) will want to keep their incarnations of the characters alive for the two movies after this one, or hand the parts off to someone else. --July 13

 


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